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By Carla Anderson
In March 2012, the New Jersey legislature passed a bill to create a New Jersey health insurance exchange. Gov. Chris Christie first announced he would reserve a decision on the bill, pending the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The legislation, which passed with no Republicans voting in favor, would have created an exchange within the state’s Department of Banking and Insurance. The legislation also called for an eight-member board and included strict conflict of interest provisions that would have prohibited board members from working in the health insurance and healthcare industries.
Then in May 2012, shortly before the Supreme Court ruling, Christie vetoed the bill. He expressed concern that a “hastily created exchange” might be an unnecessary burden to state residents if the court were to strike down some or all of the ACA.
With the court ruling in late June to uphold the majority of the ACA, Christie is now hoping Republican victories in the November elections will pave the way for the repeal of ACA.
Many others in the state, however, continue to favor a state-run exchange. A poll commissioned by the AARP and conducted in early March found that 58 percent of registered voters thought the state should have its own health insurance exchange. Jeff Brown told the Daily Journal, “A state-based exchange is the way to go. New Jersey knows best what its needs are and what the needs are for our consumers and small businesses.’’ Brown is the spokesperson for the New Jersey Main Street Alliance, a group of 800 small-business owners. In October 2012, the New Jersey Senate again voted to establish a state-run exchange. Sen. Nia Gill said, “A federally imposed exchange still requires taxpayer dollars, but it removes regulatory power from the state. We cannot permit the regulatory power of the exchange to reside anywhere else but the state of New Jersey.” An Assembly committee also voted in favor of an exchange, and the legislation is expected to pass in the full Assembly.
While new legislation authorizing a state-run exchange will likely reach Christie within the next few weeks, it is doubtful he will sign in. And even if he does, the state has very little time to meet a Nov. 16 federal deadline for committing to a state-run exchange.
Updated Oct. 11, 2012
State Exchange Profile: New Jersey
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of New Jersey’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.
New Jersey Health Insurance Exchange
An overview of health exchange issues from the consumer advocacy group New Jersey Citizen Action.
Principles for Establishing a Pro-Consumer NJ Health Insurance Exchange (PDF)
From NJ For Health Care
Health insurance information, stats, news, quotes and more.
Let your New Jersey governor and legislators know how you feel about the state's proposed health insurance exchange.New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
12/07/2012 10:12 PM -- Politico — Gov. Christie again vetoed a bill to establish a state-run exchange for New Jersey. Christie echoed other Republican governors, saying the federal government hasn’t provided enough guidance or explained potential costs.
10/20/2012 2:10 PM -- philly.com — For the second time this year, the New Jersey Assembly has sent a bill for a state-run health insurance exchange to Gov. Christie. Christie vetoed the first bill in May 2012 and plans to wait until after the Nov. 6 elections to decide whether to sign the latest bill.
10/11/2012 7:10 PM -- NorthJersey.com — The Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee approved legislation to create a state-run health insurance exchange, and the bill will go to the full Assembly. The Senate passed similar legislation earlier in October.
10/09/2012 6:10 PM -- phillyburbs.com — The Senate voted along party lines to establish a state-run exchange. The bill now goes to the Assembly. Gov. Christie vetoed a previous exchange bill In May 2012.
10/01/2012 6:10 PM -- Daily Record — A Senate committee will send another bill to create a state-run exchange to the full Senate. Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a similar bill in May, and he said it may be best to have a federally run exchange in the state.
09/26/2012 5:09 PM -- The Daily Journal — States have until Nov. 16 tell the federal government if they intend to operate their own health insurances exchanges. If the Christie administration is taking any action on an exchange, it’s not saying.
09/13/2012 9:09 PM -- NewsWorks New Jersey — Consumer advocates and medical professionals hope to keep a wide range of insurance and healthcare professionals from serving on the board of a state health insurance exchange. However, the debate is currently moot as the state has yet to authorize a state-based exchange.
05/11/2012 5:05 PM -- NJ Spotlight — Christie vetoed legislation to create a health insurance exchange. His veto also nixed a proposed $50,000 salary for exchange board members. Several state Democrats suggested Christie was putting his aspirations for a national office ahead of the well-being of the state’s uninsured residents.
03/29/2012 3:03 PM -- Atlantic Highlands Herald–A poll commissioned by the AARP found that 58% of registered voters between the ages of 18-64 believe New Jersey should operate its own health insurance exchange.
03/26/2012 4:03 PM -- Press of Atlantic City–New Jersey’s Republican governor, Chris Christie, will not use state funds to pay the exchange’s public board members to find and hire an executive director to run the exchange. He has stated that he will until the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
03/16/2012 12:03 AM -- The Record–New Jersey’s Legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill creating a state health insurance exchange. The state has roughly 1.3 million uninsured residents.
02/22/2012 8:02 PM -- Governing.com–A total of $230 million was given to ten states by the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services. The money will be used to aid the development of health insurance exchanges in those states.